Robert Mangold was born on October 12, 1937 in North Tonawanda, New York to a working-class family. A childhood interest in art culminated in him attending the Cleveland Institute of Art, graduating in 1961. Two years later, he graduated from Yale University with an MFA. His work was first exhibited in 1965 at the Jewish Museum. Soon after he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, followed by a solo museum exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. With his status secured, Mangold has been featured in many other museum exhibitions around the world, has won major public commissions, and has works in collections in top international museum collections.